News and Media


London 2012: Olympic flame handover ceremony

The Olympic flame has officially been handed over to organisers of the London 2012 Games at a ceremony in Athens. The event was held at the Panathinaikos Stadium, the home of the first modern Olympics in Greece in 1896.

The Hellenic Weightlifting Federation President, three times Olympic Gold medallist and Greek weightlifting hero Pyrros Dimas together with the Chinese gymnast Li Ning lit the cauldron with the Olympic flame. They had been chosen to symbolise the continuity from Athens to Beijing to London. It was carried around Greece after being lit on 10 May in Olympia.

300 journalists from all around the world to cover the handover and more than 40.000 spectators got excited in the Stadium when Pyrros Dimas and Li Ning lit the cauldron.

The public screamed in unison “Hellas, Hellas”.

Right after the ceremony, Pyrros said “When I heard the crowd’s pride and energy, immediately I had a similar feeling as in 2004 during my last competition. I will never forget those moments. The power of weightlifting was with me and in me again”.

Pyrros signed at least 2.000 autographs.

The flame was than passed by the President of the Hellenic Olympic Committee, Spyros Capralos to Princess Anne who represented the UK in her role as president of the British Olympic Association. At this moment the flame became London 2012’s official responsibility.